How to Avoid a Stressful Thanksgiving This Holiday Season
If you are helping plan the holidays this season and are worried about making sure your senior loved one feels included and has a great time, there are a number of things that you can do as a familial caregiver to make sure the process is stress-free. The holidays are a time for fun, joy and celebration, however for many, especially those who act as senior caregivers, they can be a time of stress. Thanksgiving can not only be stressful for the caregiver but for the senior as well, which is why these tips are so important for keeping everyone stress-free this holiday.
- Limit your food options. Sure, Thanksgiving is all about eating, but if you have too many options, it can make this holiday really stressful, especially for seniors with dementia. Go ahead and divulge in plenty of extra servings, but keep the options limited as to not overwhelm or confuse your loved one.
- Designate someone to help your senior all night. With a lot of family members around, Thanksgiving can be really over stimulating for seniors and they may become quiet and reserved, this is why it is important that there is someone designated to talk to your senior loved one all night. They should also be there to help them with things such as going to the bathroom and making their plate.
- Don’t try to overstimulate your loved one. If your senior seems overwhelmed with all of the noise and the people, find a quiet place where they can retreat and spend time alone or even take a nap.
- Remember the “holiday blues.” Simply put, the holiday blues are a real thing and they aren’t something to be ignored. Many seniors develop seasonal depression and feelings of profound sadness around this time of year. Be on the lookout for the signs of depression in your loved one so you can help them get the help the need.
- Keep the event short and sweet. You may want to throw a big production, but many times, the shorter and simpler you can make the event, the better for your loved one, especially while they are present. Don’t try to make your loved one go shopping for five hours on Black Friday-eve and make Thanksgiving an 8 hour affair, keep it short.
- Try to host the event around your loved one’s schedule. For seniors, maintaining a schedule is paramount, especially if they also have dementia or Alzheimer’s. Try to host your dinner or meal around your loved one’s normal schedule so that they can eat at the same time and nap at the same time, if possible.
- Keep a calendar to count down to the event. Don’t try to keep Thanksgiving a secret from your loved one or expect them to rely on their memories for the big holiday. Instead, make sure that they have a calendar that reminds them of the upcoming festivities so they can be prepared.
Keep these tips in mind this Thanksgiving so you can enjoy a more stress-free holiday experience with your entire family.
- Lori Thomas has decades of experience as a caregiver. Her writing for SeniorAdvice.com is informed by years of research as well as hands-on family experience caring for her now late mother, who had chronic health issues for most of her life. Lori is an integral part of the SeniorAdvice.com management team, acting as Vice President of Marketing and Chief Editor.
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